On 17th August, that is, on Tuesday, the supreme court collegium, led by chief justice NV Ramana, stated 9 names of the judges for the appointment of the top court, which also includes the name of the Karnataka High court’s justice BV Nagarathna. And if she is now elevated, she can become the first woman Chief Justice of India in 2027.
Justice BV Nagarathna who is the judge of a Karnataka High court was actually recommended by the supreme court collegium as she was also appointed as Karnataka High court’s additional judge in 2008 and 2 years later she was also appointed as a permanent judge in the high court of Karnataka. In case you don’t know, Justice BV Nagarathna’s father, ES Venkataramiah was also the Chief justice of India for a period of six months, that is from June 1989 to December 1989. Her appointment as Chief Justice of India will surely be a historical event as she will become the first woman Chief Justice of India and she will also follow the footsteps of her father.
The time when everyone came to know about justice BV Nagarathna was in November 2009. At this time she was literally locked in a room along with other two judges of a Karnataka High court, by a group of protesting lawyers. But indeed BV Nagarathna handled the situation very smartly and bravely. After that incident, she later said that they were sad because of the behavior of protesting lawyers. Her exact words were “we are not angry, but we are sad that the Bar has done this to us. We have to hang our heads in shame”.
Justice BV Nagarathna always points out the best case and the points she keeps in front always prove how smart she is. In 2012 while delivering a judgment on the need to regulate electronic media justice Nagarathna wrote a statement that “while truthful dissemination of information is an essential requirement for any broadcasting channel, sensationalism in the form of ‘breaking news’ or ‘flash news’ or in any other form must be curbed”.
Also in 2019, ruled that the employees of a temple in Karnataka cannot get entitled to gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity act, as the temple is not a commercial establishment. The employees can get entitled to gratuity benefits only under the charitable endowment act or Karnataka Hindu religious institutions.
Some statements made by her during court shearings are quite powerful too. A key statement made by justice BV Nagarathna during the court hearing was “India’s patriarchal society does not know how to treat empowered women”. Also when she spoke about the case on mid-day meals, she said “nobody can study on a hungry stomach”. Another powerful observation made by her and also justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar was that “there may be illegitimate parents but there can never be illegitimate children.”
Along with BV Nagarathna, other two women judges were also appointed and recommended by the supreme court collegium for the list. Justice Bela Trivedi and Justice Hima Kohli are the other two women judges. In January justice Hima Kohli became the first woman to gain the post of Chief Justice of Telangana High court. Earlier she also served as a judge in 2006 in Delhi High court. On the other hand, justice Bela Trivedi is a judge in the Gujarat High court. Justice Bela Trivedi also criticized the Gujarat government over the fire accident at a hospital that killed 18 people in May.
In India, the demand for a woman chief justice is increasing a lot. In fact, SA Bobde, former Chief Justice of India, has also said that it’s time for India to have a woman Chief Justice.